Opinion: Why The North Will Not Vote PDP Massively….
By Sharon Faliya Cham
The PDP is a creation of the north at a time the north was in control of all the levers of power in 1998, and in total deference to the unmatchable political liberalism and generosity of spirit of the north, the entire northern power brokers both in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Peoples Party (APP) pulled all the levers of power at their disposal to move power from the north to the south, and to ensure a smooth cession of that power to the south, all the power brokers made sure the candidates of both parties emerged from the same region and even the same religious faith. In good faith, they pulled General Olusegun Obasanjo out of prison and made him candidate of the PDP and ultimately the presidency.
But then, it didn’t take long before this very same PDP that was generously created by the north turned itself completely against the north and her interests. It became a machine that was deployed by the beneficiaries of northern generosity to wage war against the cohesiveness of the north and her wellbeing. Sitting pretty as President, one of the first things Obasanjo did was a selective mass retirement of northern military officers from service, which was followed by the relocation of some key military hardware out of the north plus the relocation of certain federal agencies from Abuja back to Lagos in clear abuse of the centrality of location of the Federal Capital Territory to all regions of Nigeria!
When murmurings from the north over this open war against her interests became loud screams, President Olusegun Obasanjo arrogantly said those who thought they invested in making him President in order to control him should consider their investment as bad investment, a statement that was loudly cheered and applauded by certain bigots and nepotists across Nigeria at that time. In other words, what Obasanjo plainly meant was that the north should regard their investment of their time, power and resources in pulling him out of prison into the presidential villa as bad investment, which literally meant he was going to go on with his deliberate warfare against the interests of the north.
And before you could say anything more, President Obasanjo vigorously pursued a policy of liberalization of importation of textile materials so that the textile factories in Kaduna and Kano as well as the cotton farms and cotton businesses in the entire north would die, and he succeeded. Imported textile materials became cheaper in our markets, killing off any competition from our local textile factories, and because our textile factories could not match the competition, considering that Obasanjo has refused to ban the importation of textile materials, our cotton farmers subsequently lost their cotton market. With that huge loss of market and revenue, poverty began to set in. This was the same picture in other aspects of agriculture whereby the Obasanjo government encouraged the importation of basic food items like rice, wheat and even corn. The net result was a huge public appetite for foreign food items, with the local varieties being scorned and shunned, such that only the very poor could be seen patronising the locally produced staples. The economic implication of that policy was that foreign farmers and their nations continued to become wealthier with our cash while our own farmers continued to grow in poverty with the nation losing its opportunity to diversify its economy and boost its foreign exchange market and tax revenue.
With such system firmly in place, what do you expect? Of course, apathy for farming grew with both our young and old ones shunning it, as it was neither profitable nor seen to be respectful. The famous northern cotton and groundnut pyramids disappeared. Search for nonexistent white collar jobs increased without success. Frustration began to set in with education losing its appeal and glamour, especially since graduates could no longer secure jobs, and before you knew it the number of jobless youths (and even old people) thronging the homes and offices of politicians to beg for money grew astronomically!
With textile factories closed down and agriculture reduced to a mere subsistence level, other factories that were very functional during the military era also took a Tysonian hit from the PDP and collapsed. Example is the STEYR motor plant in Bauchi that was building and assembling trucks, tractors, agricultural machines and military tanks and vehicles apart from the famous Bauchi meat factory that was a source of healthy meat for the state and its catchment areas. The cities of Kano, Kaduna, Zaria and others were also famous for having several other factories that were producing and assembling cars, trucks, motorcycles, plastics and other products apart from their famous textile factories. All of them began to die since the PDP and Obasanjo took over power in 1999, and by the time the crime machine was sent out of power in May 2015 virtually all of them have died!
Well, that was not all of the blow and persecution the north suffered from the PDP, for while the north was waiting patiently for Obasanjo’s eight years to peter out, Obasanjo had other mischievous ideas. Since he couldn’t secure his coveted Third Term in office, which could still have been disastrous for the north and the entire country in general, Obasanjo carefully and mischievously sought out an ailing Umaru Musa Yar’Adua and paired him with a rattle snake called Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who had the deceptive look of a holy monk in a monastery, and foisted them on the country as President and Vice President. Probably to fulfil Obasanjo’s secret desires, which we may not know now, President Yar’Adua barely governed for two years and then died, leaving the door wide open for Jonathan to succeed him. Then one of the worst forms of persecution and open warfare against the north and its entire value systems was unleashed, apparently as an official policy of the administration.
On hand as a tool was Boko Haram, which has earlier been decidedly reduced to ashes in September 2009 by President Yar’Adua but which was cleverly brought back to life effectively on October 1, 2010 when a group of bombers from the Niger Delta blew some IEDs in the heart of Abuja city for which President Jonathan and his acolytes openly blamed it on northerners in spite of earlier claims to the attacks by the Niger Delta bombers. It later emerged in court documents in South Africa that President Jonathan and his inner circle actually green-lighted the bombings so that they would be pinned on the north as a weapon of political blackmail and as a means to curry sympathies and political favours from minority ethnic groups plus one of the major religions. It was in such a suspicious situation that Boko Haram quickly became ”Boko Haram”, with a great ability to deploy a long convoy of militarized trucks to seize and bomb out villages, towns and cities, always gliding easily through the uncountable military checkpoints set up all over the north by President Jonathan and his military generals who were supposedly operating a reign of State of Emergency to ”crush Boko Haram”!
And while all this well coordinated attacks and destruction of the north was going on, all bigoted groups and persons got themselves aiding and abetting Jonathan by heaping the blame for this very same northern destruction on northern leaders, which was a contradiction of sorts because the terrorists (or insurgents) were mainly seeking out the same northern leaders to kill them, especially northern leaders that were not members of the PDP of which among the victims was the highly respected General Mamman Shuwa. Emirs were attacked with some killed while some of them fled their thrones, becoming refugees for about two years until after Buhari who himself was targeted to be bombed to pieces was sworn in as President at the end of May 2015!
As if the death of all the textile factories and other factories in the north was not enough, ”Boko Haram” went on rampage against cattle markets, schools, and places of worship. It was like the entire socioeconomic system of the north was programmed for complete destruction. And to accentuate this complete economic destruction, the Jonathan regime ordered the closure of all international flights at the Aminu Kano International Airport such that it became extremely difficult for northern business men and women to embark on international business deals. In short, the north was in complete siege, and this was the state it was in during the buildup to the 2015 general elections. And because it was not lost on northerners that their region has been raped, plundered, denigrated and mocked by the PDP over the years, it became difficult to see PDP flags and offices in the north prior to the 2015 elections except in certain places in the north where some people seemed to have been programmed by Jonathan, Olisa Metuh, Femi Fani-Kayode, Ayo Oritsejafor and their types to believe that the PDP was established by missionaries in 1808 to bring salvation to their souls while the APC was an Islamic party created by Muslim Jihadists holding long drawn swords and galloping wildly on horses towards them to forcefully Islamize them!
In other words, crooks and gangsters sold the PDP to them as an emblem of their faith whereas in truth, accepting such a crime machine as an emblem of faith is itself a sheer demonstration of faithlessness in the faith they purport to adhere to, because there has been nothing edifying and neither has there been anything moralising about the PDP to make any sane, rational God worshipping human being to regard it as an object of adoration much less of faith. In any case, it has always been the norm worldwide since the Fall of Man for crooks to assert themselves in power and authority by causing and promoting rifts among the people they seek to plunder. You are either wise and resilient against them or you become a pawn in their hands to sustain their empire of greed and avarice. Of course, let me sound sarcastic by saying the PDP now has a presidential candidate for the 2019 elections who is a bishop with four wives, and his great passion and love for Christianity is such that he has built over 100 mosques across the country without building a single church. And to further cement his love and admiration for Christianity, he got his only Christian wife to convert to Islam and even changed her name to a befitting Islamic name!
Well then, this is 2019; what has changed with the PDP? Actually nothing has changed with the party, rather it has proven to be the same crime machine it has always been by putting forward a northern presidential candidate that was Vice President for eight years when the party was busy killing off the economy of the north apart from having the excess baggage of being documented in his former boss’s book and the files of the US Congress as well as in certain influential press materials as an established thief that is not worthy of being trusted with any public office. And not surprisingly, today everyone that has openly hated the north has queued up behind him, including essayists that have consistently written all manner of insults, contempt and disdain for the region and its leaders, and their lining up behind him is not borne out of any belief about him being a unifying factor, for they do not even believe in the unity of the country, rather they see him as one through whom they can line themselves back to power to continue from where they stopped, and their only point of attraction together is their combined mutual love and affection for corruption.
If the north looks over its shoulder and take a good glance at the type of people that have queued up behind Atiku Abubakar, it should have cause to shudder over what will become of it after they succeed him by whatever means. You can’t have your sworn enemies lining up behind someone or something and yet feel comfortable with it, but thankfully enough that’s not the case here, and that’s because the north has a good memory of the kind of afflictions it suffered under the PDP as much as it is dutifully aware of the authors of those afflictions. The PDP symbol in the north today is viewed with such horror similar to the way and manner the Jews and much of the free world view the Nazi swastika symbol. And it is not as if the north was the only victim of the PDP crime machine, no, it was the entire country that was plundered and stunted by it. But the point I am stressing here is the fact that, virtually everybody that hates the north and its values loves the PDP with great passion in spite of the fact that the party was a creation of the north. Just take a good look at some of the groups and persons lining up behind Atiku Abubakar viz a vis their utterances recently or in the past, and figure it out.
Mercifully, with the resumption of work at the Mambilla hydroelectric dam in Taraba State, which was abandoned for 45 years; the completion and commissioning of the Baro sea port in Niger State; the resumption of work on the Ajaokuta steel rolling mill; the development of railway infrastructure that was abandoned for over 16 years; the reconstruction of our roads; the resumption of oil exploration in the north, and the massive investment in agriculture, all by the Buhari administration makes it clear that the glory and prestige of the north have been restored. It’s only a matter of time before the long dead textile factories and other factories rev back to life just as it is also a matter of little time before the famous cotton and groundnut pyramids rise up towards the sky again. And with the Baro sea port, which is the first of its kind in the north, now functional, northern big time business men and women have been saved the hassles of having to move their imported goods from far ports, and it also opens a whole new vista of export opportunities for all categories of merchants.
For these and with these alone, including much more to come in the NEXT LEVEL, the north is in safe hands, and that’s why they will massively reject the PDP that has proven to be antithetical to their interests and wellbeing.